Village Feature: Plaistow

SITUATED along the border of Sussex and Surrey, the parish of Plaistow and Ifold has the romantic charm of a typical English village.

With an old pub, an old church and a family-run shop, visitors to the area can fall in love with the quintessential traditional feel the village offers.

The revelry continues in Plaistow with celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on Saturday, June 2

The revelry continues in Plaistow with celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee on Saturday, June 2

It showcases a mix of old buildings alongside contemporary events.

Villagers rally round to celebrate events such as the Queen’s Jubilee, with the whole community mucking in and having fun together.

Neighbour Julie Walters, the renowned English actress, often takes part in village events.

The parish of Plaistow 
and Ifold sits in the far north-eastern corner of Chichester District and runs along the West Sussex/Surrey border.

It is home to 1,900 residents and comprises four separate centres of population.

The largest of these is Ifold, a semi-rural village with a strong sense of community, where a little under 60 per cent of the population live.

With many long-term residents, it is home to a variety of clubs and societies with members’ interests ranging from gardening 
to bell-ringing and table tennis to yoga.

It has its own village hall and community centre, with many residents who are active in the community.

To the centre of the parish lies the second-largest village, that of Plaistow.

This is the historic heart of the community and has both a church and a village green.

With slightly under 40 per cent of the total population, Plaistow residents reflect both the traditional community and younger families who have moved to the neighbourhood to enjoy the peacefulness of the area.

In addition to these two large areas of housing, the parish also has two much smaller hamlets.

The first of these is Durfold Wood which is tucked away in a quiet woodland setting to the north.

The second is that of Shillinglee which sits in open rolling countryside to the west of the parish and represents the farming tradition of the area.

Plaistow and Ifold Parish Council chairman Stuart East said: “The residents of these villages value many aspects of the community in which they live and in order to try and discover exactly what these key elements were, the parish council commissioned a survey, published in September 2012, to see what aspects of life were most valued.

“The most commonly identified good thing about the parish was stated as 
the ‘country feel’, which 
was closely followed by a liking of the ‘peacefulness’ and ‘community spirit’ of 
the area.

“The presence of the large numbers of mature trees was cited by many as one of the key features of the parish which was greatly valued, as was the lack of artificial light and the wildlife these two things encouraged.”

In terms of facilities, there is a school which is shared with Kirdford as well as a number of small businesses including two shops and a motor repair station in Ifold.

The survey showed that many members of the community had lived in 
the parish for most of their lives, with more than half having been resident for more than 20 years.

“On a day-to-day basis, the parish is characterised by a strong sense of community with a high degree of stability and neighbourliness,” said 
Mr East.

“The parish council is currently working towards the development of a Neighbourhood Plan and hopes to encapsulate these and other qualities within that plan in order that they might be preserved and enhanced for future generations.”

Ann Butterfield has been the owner of the Sun Inn pub since 1976. She oversees the running of both the bar and the kitchen, and often has walking groups passing through for a pint in the 500-year-old listed building.

The pub truly epitomises the village, with its old oak beams and original fireplaces – adding to the classic, historical character of Plaistow.

Lorraine and Jon Payne now run the village stores, a major asset to the area and a great convenience for residents.